In my college town, there was a small bakery located on the edge of downtown, right next to the train tracks. Situated inside of a tiny building, practically the size of a shack, they only had room for two brick ovens, one glass display case, and a few shelves displaying other baked goods behind the register.
Despite its size, the bakery almost always had a line that stretched out the door (although no more than five patrons at a time fit comfortably inside). In addition to the countless loaves of freshly baked bread that they offered, ranging from sourdough and French to foccacia and baguettes, the bakery also sold pizza by the slice and by the full-sized pie, both of which were incredibly popular with the students.
Every night, a few small groups of college kids sat on the park benches out front, their paper plates of gigantic pizza slices in front of them. The display case for single slices always held three varieties of pizza: plain cheese, pepperoni, and a third “fun” flavor such as veggie, Mediterranean, Hawaiian, or meat lover’s. The slices cost about $3 on average, but with their humongous size—an eighth of an extra-large pizza!—one was always more than enough for a meal.
Whenever grabbing dinner, I always ordered last out of my group of friends to give myself more time to stare into their pastry display case. (No surprises there!) Tiarmisu, éclairs, cream puffs, fruit tarts, chocolate mousse, and chocolate chip cookies stared back at me, tempting me even more than those thin crust pizza slices!
On one of our trips during my senior year, I noticed a small sign posted on the corner of the menu blackboard. In small lettering, it announced that all breakfast pastries would cost $1.25 after 5 pm. My eyes lit up—I loved breakfast at any time of day! While everyone else ordered their pizza slices, I opted for a small side salad along with a blueberry scone the size of my face instead.
I sped straight through the greens in order to slowly savor my pastry prize. The outside was crusty and dusted with coarse sugar, just how I liked it, but… The insides were more crumbly and dry than I remembered scones to be. They were still buttery and rich, just not as tender as I envisioned. I blamed that on the scones sitting in the display case all day, but I still polished off every last crumb.
So whenever I bake scones at home, I always make sure that their insides turn out as moist as possible. These Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Scones are the perfect example! With a slight crisp crust on the outside and the most tender dough inside, these cozy breakfast treats never last long.
These healthy gingerbread scones start with whole wheat flour. Yup, just regular ol’ whole wheat flour. Some people think that whole wheat flour makes baked goods turn out dry, but these are the exact opposite! You’ll see why when we get to the wet ingredients…
Then you’ll add ground ginger and cinnamon. You can’t have gingerbread without ginger! You’ll need 1 full tablespoon for these scones, which gives them a warm spicy taste. It’s one of my favorite flavors in the winter, especially on chilly mornings alongside a big steaming mug of coffee!
Now into that, you’ll cut 2 tablespoons of butter. Yes, that’s it! Other scone recipes call for a full stick of butter, plus lots of heavy cream, but our lightened-up scones use just 2 tablespoons. The rest of their tender texture comes from my favorite ingredient in healthier baking: Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt provides the same moisture as extra butter or oil for a fraction of the calories, and it gives your scones a big protein boost too.
These scones are sweetened with two important ingredients: pure maple syrup and molasses. Be sure to use the real kind when it comes to maple syrup! Stay away from pancake syrup or the sugar-free stuff; those include corn syrup or artificial ingredients and will give the scones different taste and texture. The only ingredient on the bottle should be “pure maple syrup.”
As for molasses, you can’t have gingerbread without that either! Do not substitute anything for it. You can find it on the baking aisle near the other liquid sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, and it’s relatively inexpensive. I use molasses in all of my bran muffin recipes and gingerbread-flavored recipes, as well as many of my granola recipes, so it’s worth keeping a bottle in your pantry!
And of course, don’t forget the chocolate chips! We’re using mini chocolate chips in these scones because their smaller size ensures that every bite contains a morsel of chocolate. You’ll also press a few into the tops of the scones just before baking to give them a pretty look.
And in just 30 minutes, your breakfast is on the table! ♡ When you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy chocolate chip gingerbread scones!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Scones
- 1 ½ cups (180g) whole wheat or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp (4g) ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp (45mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp (40mL) nonfat milk, divided
- 1 tbsp (15mL) molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp (28g) miniature chocolate chips (divided)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (highly recommended!) or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center. Stir in the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of milk, molasses, and vanilla extract. Fold in 1 ½ tablespoons of chocolate chips.
- Shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining milk. Slice the circle into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife. Gently press the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake at 425°F for 16-19 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.